To the Teachers at Tink’s School,
As we enter the final week of term, the final week at the school nursery Tink has attended for the last two years, I wanted to write you a letter of thanks. It really does feel like the end of an era, as, not only did her older brother work his way through the school, but I did too, albeit more than 30 years ago! I have very mixed emotions right now.
When Tink started at the nursery almost two years ago, we knew it would be good for her. H had thrived there, changing from a shy, insecure boy into a much more confident one who was more willing to give new things a try. His nursery year was a fantastic foundation for moving into Reception and a more formal education.
From before she even started with you, you were willing to meet with us to discuss her needs and our concerns. You put in place several accommodations, even before Tink had an EHCP, such as a one-to-one support teacher (who is out of a job at the end of the week, and I’m gutted!) and access to Speech and Language Therapy, and Educational Psychologist and the Communication and Autism Team.
You gave us a fabulous book of photos, showing the different areas of the nursery and all the adults who Tink would have contact with on a daily basis. At this time, two years ago, Tink’s understanding of events yet to happen was very limited (and still is, really), so this was an incredibly useful tool to help us talk to her about nursery during the summer holidays before she started.
And, when she did start, she settled fairly quickly. Once she got to know the teachers and other children, and they got to know her, things settled down and an understanding was reached (mainly that Tink has her own agenda and you need to be pretty sneaky to get her to go along with yours!).
Throughout her time with you, Tink has continued to receive as much support and assistance as you are able to give, despite budget and staffing limitations.
You guided us through the EHCP process and collated enough supporting evidence to show clearly that Tink does need extra help. When we were unsure as to whether Tink was ready to make the leap to Reception at the start of this academic year, you were the ones who suggested that she should stay in nursery a while longer, where she could be fully supported by those who know her, rather than setting her up to fail in an environment that clearly wouldn’t suit her.
When we discussed a move into special education, you fully involved us in all discussions and we collectively came to the decision that it was time Tink moved on, despite our own feelings about leaving the nurturing environment she’d experienced up to that point. When we hadn’t heard whether or not Tink had been granted a move, you were the ones who gave us a copy of the document you had been sent about our daughter days before we were to receive it.
When we were waiting, and waiting, and waiting even more to hear whether she had been given a school place, you were the ones who pestered the local authority on a daily basis for news. You were the ones who discovered the poor communication and the loss of paperwork which caused the delay, and who told the powers that be that they were failing a little girl by delaying a decision and causing unnecessary anxiety to her family, and that it simply was not good enough. You were almost as happy as I was when I told you she’d finally been given a place.
And now, here we are. She is finally moving on. My baby is going to ‘big school’ at last. I am so very sad that it’s not your ‘big school’, but we all know that it would have been too much of a struggle – for her and for you. I would have loved for her to stay with the friends she has made over the last couple of years, but it’s time for her to make new friends and be nurtured and taught by new teachers. I just hope they come to love her as much as I think you do.
I hope you won’t forget her, and I’ll make sure she doesn’t forget you. We still have those photo books, and I will get them out often and talk with her about you all. She is excited about her new school, and is already asking to go, but this does not mean she won’t miss you all when she does.
‘Thank you’ doesn’t feel enough to express the gratitude we feel towards you for the care you have taken of our little girl. You have shown incredible patience, determination, thoughtfulness and love towards her, and I’m sure it hasn’t always been easy. You have given her the roots to be able to grow, and we feel hopeful that she will flourish in an environment that better meets her needs.
With much love and fond memories,
Kelly, Dave, H and, of course, Tink xxx